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CFPB Recruiting Technologists, Conducting Research to Monitor Emerging Technologies

CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is recruiting more technologists and conducting additional research to address the role of transformative technologies in consumer financial markets.

The agency aims to help ensure that the rights of consumers are not being violated as the tech ecosystem evolves, the CFPB said in a Tuesday (March 26) press release.

“From cracking down on data abuses and shoddy AI [artificial intelligence] to tracking Big Tech’s movement into financial services, technology is fundamental to the CFPB’s work,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in the release. “Our technologists help the agency enforce existing laws and track emerging risks to consumers to ensure that American families are protected through whatever technological changes the market encounters.”

The CFPB’s move to enhance its tech capacity comes at a time when participants in consumer financial markets are adopting new data-intensive business practices around marketing, loan origination, credit reporting, collections and every other stage of the consumer finance lifecycle, the CFPB said in a statement released in conjunction with the press release.

To address these technologies, the agency is embedding more individuals with technical skills across its core functions, according to the statement. These technologists are engaged in a range of regulatory proceedings and assessing a variety of business practices, including the use of AI, algorithms and dark patterns.

The CFPB is also researching and analyzing the application of emerging technologies in consumer finance and sharing what it finds with market participants, regulatory agencies and the public, per the statement. For example, in previous research, the agency has looked at the use of generative AI in customer service and the use of near-field communication (NFC) technology in point-of-sale (POS) consumer payments.

In June 2023, the CFPB said it was monitoring the banking sector’s use of AI-powered chatbots after receiving complaints from consumers frustrated by their interactions with this technology.

In September 2023, the agency released a report on Big Tech and contactless payments that spotlighted Apple’s NFC chip policies and who gets access to that technology.

“The CFPB supports efforts to advance a competitive marketplace that constantly evolves,” Chopra and CFPB Chief Technologist Erie Meyer said in the statement released Tuesday. “A key objective for the CFPB is to ensure that emerging business practices are consistent with federal law, and to take action when they are not.”